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WARNING: This is a uber story. All characters are figments of my imagination. Any similarity to living or dead individual are unintentional.
VIOLENCE WARNING/DISCLAIMER: The violence in this story, is not into gross or gory. There are fight scenes. Please feel free not to read if violence of any kind bothers you.
LOVE/SEX WARNING/DISCLAIMER: This story depicts a love/sexual relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something other than this story.
Kasey Lovett: immortality
Dru Warlord: courageous & strong
A cacophony of noise hit Dru's senses, causing the already piercing headache to throb. She didn't want to be here, and wasn't in the mood for small-talk. As soon as she could find an excuse to leave, she was history. The crowd mulling around appeared to be the same old group, the movers and doers, crooks and scoundrels of the publishing business. The writing, for the most part, was fun and exciting, but this part having to fraternize with the heavier elements of the profession, was not her forte. Sighing, well better get this over with as quickly as possible.
A wrinkled claw caught her arm, old Mrs. Sinclair grinned up at her from under cheap, glued on, lopsided, plastic lashes. Damn, she hadn't seen the woman, if she had she would have avoided her like the plague. Now, she would have to listen to all the gory details of woman's latest surgery. Popcorn balls! I hate this, but she dutifully smiled. One had to do what one had to do, and Mrs. Sinclair was one of the few power-money mongers around. She had so much of the green stuff she could make or break anyone trying to break into the business, any business. This woman had been sponsoring writers since the dawn of time, Dru guessed. Thankfully, Mable Sinclair, liked Dru's mysteries.
Gregory Micheals, her agent, winked from over Mrs. Sinclair's shoulder. "Excuse me, but I need to talk to Ms. Warlord." He gave the philanthropist one of his winning smiles, and Dru noticed the sudden glint in rummy brown eyes. Whoa, don't even want to think about that. Gee, I guess things could be worse, poor Greg. Oh gods, she could have done without that image, way too much information going on here.
"I owe you one," she murmured, moving away with the agent. "What do you need?" Dru took a large breath.
"Do you have it ready yet?"
She knew before he asked what he wanted, but was stalling. "Well, it's like this, Greg, I've been kind of... "
"Don't give me that, Dru. You know I need something in my office this month. C'mon, what's the matter?" Greg, eyed her, part concern and part curiosity painted his round, bearded face. The soft lighting reflected off his balding scalp, as he stood facing her.
"I know. Look, don't worry, I'll have my manuscript on your desk on time." This wasn't the time or place to share her troubles, or those prank calls she'd been receiving.
The short man placed a pudgy hand on her shoulder, "Please tell me if there's something wrong, maybe I can help." That made her smile.
"I'm okay, honest, but thanks for caring." She patted his arm, "Again, thanks for the rescue." Dru turned and searched for a drink. Leaning against the mahogany bar, the bartender smiled.
"What can I get for you?"
"Something strong and wet." That got her a few chuckles from those gathered. "Scotch on the rocks." She added.
With drink in hand, Dru again strolled through the throng of human tuxedos and gowns. She snatched the hand grabbing her breast and squeezed until she heard a yelp, then let go. Innocently she asked, "Were you looking for something?" The slender dark haired man, whimpered, holding his hand to his chest.
"Damn, why did you do that, I wasn't doing anything wrong." The man's slick looks, marked him as the ritual ladies man of the party. Dru took an instant dislike to him.
"No one touches me, unless I want them to. If you don't want the other hand broken, I would advise you to disappear." Slick Willie, couldn't leave fast enough. Shaking her head, why her, she asked herself? Dru felt the eyes on her before she found their owner. A strawberry-blonde, wearing a slinky black number, stood to one side of the room watching her. She was trying to hide her laughter behind a small hand. I guess she enjoyed the show. Slick Willie must have been making his rounds this evening. Hell, the guy probably even made a move on Mrs. Sinclair.
"Hello." Dru faced the blonde, "My name..."
"Dru Warlord," she finished for her, "I know. I'm Kasey Lovett." She flashed, a brilliant smile that made the whole room dim.
"I take it Slick made his move on you also?" inquired Dru.
"Yeah, he's been making the circuit, but you're the first to scare the pee out of him." Grinned Kasey.
The sudden silence between them felt awkward, but Kasey ended it quickly, "would you like a breath of fresh air? It's getting pretty stuffy in here with all these people."
"Sure, I would love it." Dru followed Kasey out into a courtyard, near a fountain. "I hate these shindigs," she informed the other woman.
"Truly?" Kasey sounded surprised, "I think it's all very exciting." They settled on a cement bench facing the fountain.
"After you've been to a few, they all get kind of monotonous." The moist, crisp air helped her headache.
"This is my first." The smaller woman, stared off into the twilight. "It's not so bad, and I really enjoy meeting the editors and writers."
"Do you write?" Dru asked, starting to relax.
Kasey shook her head, "No, I'm a proofreader and researcher."
Dru cocked a dark eyebrow, "Really, who do you work for?"
A shy smile crept across her face, "No one at the moment. That's why I'm here, kind of seeking out prospects. Trudy, my roommate, received an invitation, and didn't want to come alone. I jumped at the chance to attend. She left me on my own almost as soon as we arrived, I saw her heading out of here with an older gentleman." Kasey looked at her folded hands on her lap. "Tonight, I was hoping to land a job, but... " her voice trailed off.
Dru knew exactly what the woman felt like. Unless personal introductions were made to the editors or publishers, by an established writer, the virtual unknown would be ignored. She didn't know why she was doing this, but there was something in the kid she liked.
"C'mon, I've got someone I want you to meet." She found Greg talking to Iggy Pinkerton, a statuesque platinum-blonde, editor of River Day Paperbacks. The one woman that could get Dru's hackles up without even trying. An inward sigh, well what else could go wrong tonight?
"Hey Iggy, Greg."
Iggy eyes started at Dru's feet and scanned upward. Warlord, stood taking the scrutiny all in stride. That goaded the editor, not getting the response she wanted out of the tall, raven-haired writer. "Hey, Dru. What's up?" she purred. It wasn't a secret, the woman's interest in the writer was other than professional.
"I would like you to meet a friend of mine," Dru motioned Kasey forward, "This is, Kasey Lovett, and she's one of the best proofreader and researcher I've ever found around." She gave Lovett a wink, and patted her shoulder. Both of them knew the blatant lie wouldn't be noticed. Anyway, Dru didn't exactly lie, she didn't know any other proofreaders or researchers. It was all in the way you looked at it.
Iggy, slipped an arm around the strawberry-blonde's shoulders. "If Dru says you're good, then you must be," the innuendo rolled off the editor's lips. "Let me see what I can do for you." With a wave over her shoulder, Iggy steered Kasey into the mass of publishing personas. I hope Kasey can handle herself against whatever Iggy might try. The editor might not have been the best person for the younger woman to meet right off, but if she could make it through the overt advances, she would end up meeting, who's who in publishing through Iggy's connections.
Turning her attention to Greg, "Well, what did she want?"
"The usual, a contract to publish your work, what else?" he smirked, and caught the raise eyebrow. "She keeps thinking I have some control over you, boy is she deluded." They both knew what he was referring to. "I wish she was obsessed with me the way she is with you." Greg sighed loudly.
Dru put a hand on his thick shoulder, "You can have her, my friend, I don't want anything to do with her, myself." She noticed Kasey's strawberry-blonde head, surrounded by a sea of black tuxes, the young woman turned and smiled, then mimed a 'thank you'. Dru nodded and smiled. "Okay, Greg, I've paid my dues for tonight, I'm out of this place."
"Remember, I need your draft in my office A.S.A.P."
"Yeah, yeah, I've got the idea." She headed for the nearest exit.
Thinking to get started on her latest chapter, Dru rolled out of bed. Brewing rain clouds were building out over the bay. A storm would be nice, it would force her to stay inside and work. She padded to the bathroom, a hot shower was the first order of the day.
What's that noise? Dru turned the shower off and grabbed a towel. "Why is it when I take a shower either the phone rings or someone knocks on the door?" she asked the room at large. Tucking the towel about her, she opened the door. Greg strolled into the room.
"Do you always answer the door in the altogether, Dru?" he snickered. "Not that I mind."
"What do you want, Greg? I told you I would have my draft to you as soon as it's finished."
"Yeah, I know, but then I had this brainstorm of an idea." He motioned for someone to join him. Dru hadn't noticed, Kasey. The young woman had a small black duffel bag slung over one shoulder.
"Hello, Dru," greeted the young woman, "it's good to see you again." A blush rose to her face, though the writer noticed Kasey didn't drop her eyes from the towel clad woman.
"You see, I figured you could use some help on your manuscript, and you said yourself that Kasey was one of the best proofreaders you'd ever met." Greg grinned, very pleased with himself.
"I don't need any help, I'll get it done on my own. Nothing against you, Kasey, it's just I work alone." The words stung the proofreader, and a part of her winced at her own coldness. Obviously, those prank calls had her more on edge than she realized, and now here she was taking it out on Greg and Kasey. "Why, Greg?" she sighed heavily, "You've never gotten involved before, why now?"
"All selfish reasons, you know that, but the fact is, I feel there's a problem, and I truly want to help. If you won't tell me, maybe having someone else around might help. Do me a favor, and try it. If within a week you're still bogged down and you're at each other throats, then we'll mark it up to experience. What do you say?" He spread his hands out in front of him, pleading with Dru.
She really wanted to refuse, a week wouldn't be so bad, after it would be back to normal. "All right, Greg. One week."
"What's up?" she asked.
"You'll see." He answered.
Dru beseeched Kasey, "Do you know what he's up to?"
"Not exactly." Kasey bit her lower lip.
Greg reentered the apartment with two men following him lugging a twin bed. "Down the hallway, guys. The room to the right." He then turned and gave Dru and innocent look.
"What in heavens name are you doing with that bed?" She stood, hands on hips, glaring at Greg.
"Where do you expect Kasey to sleep?" he asked.
"What!" Dru rubbed a hand over her face, then counted to twenty, ten was too short. "Why does she have to stay here?"
"Okay, here's the brass tacs, you don't really have a choice." He explained, "Mrs. Sinclair took a shine to Kasey, since she's funding your novel, what she says pretty much goes. And she says Kasey would be a great help to you, and you did seem taken with the young proofreader. It was my idea for her to move in." Greg seemed proud of this fact. Dru wanted to bat him up side the head for his contribution for completely disrupting her life. She should just throw him out along with the rest of them, but her eyes fell on Kasey, and heard her own internal sigh. She hated having to share anything of herself with anyone. It wasn't the kid's fault, and yet Dru felt cornered.
Yeah, publishers were crying for her work, but Mable owned her contract. If she didn't go along with this, the woman could ruin her. Was it worth it? When things were tough and going no where for Dru, she was desperate, and signed a loan contract with Mable Sinclair, giving her a percentage of the writer's five future novels Though Sinclair wasn't a publisher, she funded Dru's work. Allowing her time to complete her first manuscript, and giving Greg the ear of a sympathetic publisher. She knew she owed the woman, but to have her come directly into her home and dictate who she would have to work with, made her want to chuck the whole thing, and tear up her contract. But she wouldn't have a leg to stand on in court, and since Mable had the money and time, she could out last Dru if she decided to drag the trial out. Even after all of this Mrs. Sinclair had been more than fair. A loan shark, by any other name is still a loan shark. She should be glad, after the completion of this novel, her debt would be paid. God, how did I get myself into this convoluted mess?
"I know the erratic hours you keep when you write." Greg rattled on, "staying up to all hours, or not going to bed at all, working days at a time without a break or food. If you won't look after yourself, someone has to." The pudgy agent, looked to Kasey for support, finding her less than helpful, quickly continued. "You know how much Mable likes you, Dru. It was her way to show you she cares." muttering under his breath, "also protecting her investment." He shrugged, then left to check on the men setting up the bed in the other room.
Her little deception had come back to bite her in the butt, she groaned. Dru felt a light touch on her arm, and looked down into fern-green eyes.
"Look, just go along with it until he leaves, then I'll go home. I had no idea what they were going to do. I was hauled over here with hardly a clue what was going on. So believe me when I say, I don't want to stay where I'm not wanted."
Now she really did feel like a heel. Dru knew Kasey needed the job, yet the young woman was willing to give it up because of the way the writer felt. What was a week? She could handle it... sure she could. After a moment of convincing herself, she agreed. "You can stay."
"Are you sure?" She asked.
Dru nodded, "Yeah, it's no big deal. But I have to warn you I haven't had a roommate since college."
"Don't worry, you won't even know I'm here." Kasey gave her that breath taking smile of hers.
The two blue uniformed men came out from the back bedroom. Ogled the dark-haired beauty in the skimpy towel. Who cocked her head to one side and glared. They vanished out the door. Dru shook her head, "Men."
"Yeah." Kasey agreed.
"That's it, the bed is set up." Greg stated, "I'll talk to you later this week." And left.
The two women stood for a moment in silence.
"I... I'm going to get dressed," Dru informed her house guest, then headed for her bedroom. She had a virtual stranger staying with her, her agent getting all concerned and over protective, and a deadline. I can handle this, but she didn't like it. Too many things felt like they were closing in around her. Dru allowed the damp towel to fall to the floor as she pulled on her underwear and jeans, then slipped into a soft flannel shirt. Running her fingers through her long dark hair, she reentered the living room, and knelt by the fireplace.
"On a day like this I like to have a fire going when I write, that and a cup of coffee hits the spot." Dru stacked kindling and a log in the hollow of the fireplace. Then held a hand close to allow the tinder to catch the flame from her match. Standing, dusting her hands off, she strolled to the kitchen.
"Would you like some coffee?"
"Thanks, Dru, I would love a cup, but only if it's not too much trouble?"
Dru stood for a moment holding two cups of hot coffee before entering the room. She watched the young woman warming herself by the fire. The glow of the firelight highlighted her golden hair, and etched her profile in brilliant amber relief. The proofreader appeared very young
The storm outside, rattled the windows. Wind blew, howling through the tree limbs next to the apartment building. Dark waves hurling against the rocky barriers, echoed the thunder, with a crescendo of lightening. It was a perfect day to write.
"Here, this should warm you up a bit." Kasey gave her that smile which lit up her face as she took the cup.
Dru had never been all that hot about the idea of roommates. Even at college she had found a way to be alone in the dorm. Still she told herself, what would be the harm for Kasey to spend the week?
The proofreader sighed, "Thanks, you don't know how much I appreciate this job."
Dru waved off the thanks, "Think nothing of it. We girls have to stick together."
They took on the major job of making a work area for the Kasey. Dru's apartment consisted of two bedrooms, with one of those made into a work-exercise room, a kitchen with a counter-bar that looked out into the living room, and a small dinning area. The big selling point of Dru's place was the view of Monterey Bay. Her little balcony leading off from the dinning area, was large enough for a couple of lounge chairs and a table. The glass barrier at the front of the balcony framed by redwood banister and sides allowed a person to lounge without having the view obstructed. Dru enjoyed the openness of all the windows, which sold her on the apartment in the first place.
"You can use the desktop computer, I only use it as a back-up. I like using my laptop to do my writing, and it's more convenient for me when I travel." Dru cleared away some papers and magazines, and switched on the computer. It hummed to life. "Here ya go, the first five chapters are on this diskette." Dru inserted the diskette in the drive. "Or would you rather work from a hard copy?" asked Dru looking up. Kasey had moved close to see the screen, closer than Dru had noticed and now when she looked up, their faces were within inches of each other.
"If you don't mind, I would rather work from a hard copy. I'll enter my corrections after we discussed them, if that works for you?" Kasey pulled the chair out from the computer desk.
"Sounds good to me," Dru replied, and moved back to the computer. "Paper is under the printer table, there. And if you need anything else just ask."
Kasey gave her a nod and sat down in front of the screen. Not even giving Dru another glance she began working.
Dru walked back into the living room, sat on the sofa, propping her feet on the coffee table. Her laptop across her legs, concentrating on the germs of ideas growing in her mind, started typing. An hour or so later, Kasey sat down on the opposite end from Dru on the sofa. In one hand she held three different color markers, and in the other she held a printed copy of Dru's manuscript. Neither spoke. Each absorbed in their respective work.
Dru sighed a couple of hours later, then leaned her head back against the sofa.
"You need to take a break, and get a bite to eat," observed Kasey.
Dru nodded, "That sounds like a good idea. What do you say to having a hamburger with me?"
"No, thanks. If you don't mind, I would rather keep at this for now." Kasey placed the manuscript on her lap and watched Dru.
Dru stared out the window for a moment, and finally answered, "Okay, I'll bring something back for us. What do you like on your burger?"
Kasey smiled, but seemed troubled, "You don't have to do that."
"I know I don't have to, but I want too. So tell me what you want on your hamburger?" Dru had a glint in her eye.
"I like everything," answered Kasey.
"Good, me too." Dru got to her feet, placing the laptop on the coffee table. "I'll be back." They both chuckled.
Archie's Hamburger joint was open and bustling with patrons. Many had walked up from the Monterey Bay aquarium. Kids screamed and tore through the line of those waiting. A young woman had a baby in her arms as well as one in a stroller, both were crying. Finally it was Dru's turn, when someone bumped into her hard, forcing her into the counter. Turning, she only caught a glimpse of a retreating figure escaping through the doors.
"Are you hurt?" the young counter girl asked, distressed.
"No, I'm fine. Did you see what the person looked liked?" Dru still glared out the glass doors.
The waitress shook her head, "No, I only saw the back of them, and couldn't even tell if it was a man or woman with the sweatshirt hood up over their head. Maybe you should see the manager to file some kind of report, or something?"
Dru waved her off, "No, I don't want to do anything." What had gotten into some people, she wondered.
She opened the door to the apartment and found Kasey still sitting on the sofa, a stack of papers all about her, deep in thought. "Hi."
"I'm famished." She informed her new roommate, and made for the kitchen. Kasey left the work on the sofa, and trailed behind. Dru grabbed two plates out of the cupboard and placed them on the dinning table. Kasey unwrapped and placed a hamburger and order of fries on each dish. Dru snatched two bottles of Avian water from the fridge and sat down. They worked like a well oil machine, without even knowing or being aware of it.
Dru took a huge bite out of the juicy hamburger. "Mmm, that tastes good," she mumbled around the mouthful of food. Juices dripped down her hand, a spot of mayonnaise lodged itself at the corner of her mouth.
Kasey took a napkin, leaned close, and slowly wiped away the wayward dressing with the corner of the napkin. Dru sat still permitting the primping by the strawberry-blonde, with thoughts how her mother had done the same thing to her as a child, during the good times. She was beginning to get the idea that her new roommate was the more demonstrative type, compared to herself. Usually, she kept everyone at a safe distance, where it was easier for her to deal with, and have control over. Yet, here she was allowing this young woman fuss over her as if she had known her all her life. Why? As she mulled this over, no ready answer came to mind.
Kasey leaned back against the chair and crossed her arms, "Are you going to tell me what's going on?"
A moment of confusion, before Dru realized what she meant. "You had a phone call while I was out?"
She nodded, "Two. Each, saying the same thing. 'Don't do the book.'" A note of anxiety, "What's this about, Dru?"
She placed the hamburger on her plate and sighed. "I'm not sure."
"How long has this been going on?"
Dru leaned her head on her hand, looking over at Kasey, "For over two months. I would get about two or three calls a day. The closer the deadline, the more frequent the calls."
The young woman leaned forward, "Have you told the police?"
The dark-haired woman shook her head, "There's nothing they can do, it would be just a waste of their time. I could change my number, but I've done that once already, and who ever it is, found my new number and started the calls all over again."
Kasey's touched Dru's shoulder, "Are you afraid?"
"No, not really. I think it's someone getting their jollies by harassing the mystery queen." That got the young woman to smile.
"Has anything else happened?"
Dru, started to get kind of uncomfortable by all the questions, "No, just the phone calls. Did anything else happen while I was getting lunch?"
"No, I was just curious. You could have a stalker on your hands here."
"Well, I'm not going to worry about it until something happens. Right now I'm going to finish my lunch." Dru took another bite, while her mind rolled over the real possibility of someone wanting to harm her.
The afternoon moved onward into early evening. Dru got up to stretch. It had been a very productive day. Two new chapters had been completed, and Kasey had been whipping through the manuscript at breakneck speed. If they kept this rate they would meet her deadline without any problem.
"What do you say to going for a walk? We've been cooped up all day, and I could do for a breath of fresh air, how about you?" ask Dru. The rain had stopped, clouds formed patches in an intensely royal blue sky, and flashes of sunlight bounced around the apartment, reflected small colorful rainbows from puddles outside.
"Ah, sounds wonderful. I usually jog everyday, and this sitting stuff makes me sluggish," Kasey got to her feet. "Some fresh air would perk me up, give me a second to change into my sweats. That reminds me, do you think we could go by my place so I can get more of my stuff? All I bought with me was my sweats and a change of clothes. Greg, just said pack an over night bag." Kasey picked up her old duffel, which was laying next to the sofa.
"I don't see why not," Dru watched her leave the room. If they were going to do some jogging she should change out of her blue jeans into some sweats too. Not thinking she left her door open to her bedroom while climbing out of her jeans and pulling off her shirt. A noise, made her look up. Kasey stood in the doorway.
"Sorry, it was open." Kasey blushed, and proceeded down the hallway.
Being modest was never one of Dru's phobias, and she found herself smiling at the other woman's quandary. Catching sight of her six foot tan frame in the dresser mirror, she ran a hand over the flatten stomach, firm muscled thighs and arms, and decided a little work out wouldn't hurt.
"Here!" Dru held up a silver key, "I think you'll need this."
"The key to the apartment," answered Dru.
Kasey took the key with wonder showing on her face, then tucked the key into a pocket. "Thanks."
"Do you want to jog or walk?" asked Kasey, stretching. Dru was already bending and pulling muscles, warming up. The evening was growing nippy as the sun was beginning to hang low in the sky.
"Let's jog," answered Dru, jumping up and down on her toes.
"Okay, let's go." Kasey headed up the street. They paced each other in a relaxed manner. Couples, hand-in-hand, strolled along the beach down below them. Tour buses roared by leaving diesel fumes behind. Violet ice plants painted the edges of the overhanging cliffs above the beaches.
Emerald waters on the lee of Lovers' Point lapped onto white sand. Scuba divers changed their gear by their cars in the parking lot. Kasey and Dru threaded a path through cars and people. Heading back, they stop when they notice pockets of people beginning to gather on the beaches and in the turn outs facing the setting sun. Standing next to each other, they watched the sun sink below the horizon, those around them began to clap in appreciation of the stellar performance. A couple not far away called to a girl and boy playing with their dog, and headed home. In the dusk, the white sand was pocketed with blue shadows, and looked from a distance like snow.
Dru was intensely aware of Kasey standing so close.
Kasey's hand lightly touched and slid down Dru's arm, "That was beautiful." A clumsy oaf bumped into the strawberry-blonde, breaking the peaceful moment.
"Hey sweetie, you wanna drink?" The young man, wore a California State University sweat shirt, and stank of sweat and booze. His brown stringy hair fell into pale watery eyes as he leered at Kasey and then taking in Dru's form with open lust on his face. He wrapped a huge hand around Kasey's forearm. "Honey, I can show you a real good time, you know you want me too."
"Hey! Let me go!" Kasey angrily told the man, as she tried to pull her arm free.
In a flash Dru's hand covered the assailant's, a slight squeeze. He screamed in agony, and fell to his knees crying. Dru knelt, she wanted to send the guy into next week. Only extreme control over her temper kept her from doing it. "Be Nice!" she growled.
"Dru, let him be." A soft touch on her back, cooled her anger.
"C'mon, let's go home, " Dru stated flatly.
In the apartment Kasey threw down her keys on the coffee table in frustration. "Why in hell did you do that?" She crossed her arms over her chest, and glared at Dru. "Well?"
"Do what?" Dru didn't know what to say. She expected Kasey to be happy she took care of the jerk.
"Don't you think I can take care of myself?" Kasey held Dru's eyes. "Believe me when I say I can."
"Ok, you're right, but I feel you're overreacting. He deserved to have his head thumbed good, maybe help knock a few brain cells into functioning again."
"Maybe I am overreacting, but I would have talked my way out of it, you didn't need to place yourself in harms way. You're lucky he didn't hurt you." Kasey's face betrayed the fear of what could have happened.
Those few words pulled at Dru in ways she never knew possible. The realization Kasey was upset over the fact she could have been hurt made her heart skip a beat. "Kasey, I have tried not to worry about the 'what ifs', those things may never take place. What I do worry about is the here and now. That's all either of us have, the breath we breathe now. There are no guarantees we will enjoy another, so I have the tendency of acting in the now. I just reacted."
"I know, and it was sweet you would do that for me, but I don't like the idea of you getting hurt on my account." Kasey smiled, and Dru could see the tension drain out of her.
"Well, I tell you what I'm going to do now," Dru said pulling her sweat shirt up over her head, "I'm going to take a shower and get the stench of that idiot off me. After, we can drop by and pick up your things at your place." Dru had almost turned away when she stopped and peered back over her shoulder, "Unless you would rather do something else?"
Kasey chuckled, and her eyes twinkled, "That was a very quick save on your part, you know?"
"Hey, I'm learning, give me a break," laughed Dru.
"Sure, it sounds great. You go take your shower and I'll pick up and sort the work I did on your manuscript today. If we have time later maybe we could go over them?"
"Okay." Dru padded down the hallway to her room, grabbed her robe and headed for the shower.
Dru drove her jet, black 1965 Classic Mustang up the driveway and stopped, turned the ignition off and climbed out the door. Kasey joined her at the front of the car, together they walked up to the door of the apartment building. The shorter woman used her key to open the main door, then led the way down the hallway to her apartment. Inserting her key, they became suddenly aware of intimate noise issuing from the room. Both women looked at each other.
"Ah, I think Trudy is entertaining. Do you want to wait out here or come in?" a flush of crimson rose up Kasey's neck.
With a large smirk, "I think I'll come in. This could be fun, and who knows, I might learn something." Dru waggled her eyebrows.
This sense of mischief took her by surprise, and Kasey marveled in the knowledge that this stoic woman had an impish side.
They entered the apartment, heard giggling from another room. Kasey grinned back at Dru, "Stay here, and I'll slip down to my room and grab a few things." She started to leave then stopped, "Ah, don't get into any trouble," she added, wagging a finger with a wink. That earned a grunt from her companion and two raised dark eyebrows.
"Me, get into trouble? Never!"
The younger woman shook her head, laughing softly, disappearing off down the hallway.
Dru scanned the living room, contemporary furniture, area rugs, and no clutter. Nice. She wondered if it was Kasey's tastes or Trudy's?
"Hey, I see you survived," her new roommate whispered, as she juggled two suitcases. Dru took one, and indicated she would take the other also, but Kasey shook her head. "I'm not an invalid, but thanks for the offer." She gave Dru a thoughtful smile, which brought a smile to the lips of her dark haired companion.
A loud crunching sound, then a heavy thump, shook the room. The two women looked at each other wondering if they should investigate. Then a rhythmic thumping against the wall started up.
"Eeew!" the shorter woman groaned.
"I think that's our cue to make an exit." Dru announced, laughing at the expression on Kasey's face.
Back at the apartment, they deposited Kasey's luggage in her new bedroom. Dru looked around the room and noticed it was going to be pretty cramped. "I'll try and see if I can move some of my stuff out of here."
"That's not necessary, I don't need much room." Kasey opened a suitcase, sighed loudly, "Nope, I'm not going to do this now." She looked up, "Are you hungry, I'm starved?"
Dru grinned, "Yeah a little."
"Then let me order us a pizza. What do you like on yours?" Kasey picked up her purse, "And this is my treat, you've done so much for me, I would like to do something in return."
"Whatever you say, and I like the garden pizza. I bet you like all that red meat stuff, right?" Dru ducked, as Kasey threw a pair of socks at her.
"How did you know? I love sausage, pepperoni, bacon, chorizo, whatever meat they have, I like." An evil grin graced her lips. "Do you want an individual so your veggies don't touch my bloody meat, or do you want one medium pizza and have them do a half and half thingy with it?"
"Make that a large pizza with the half and half thingy with thick crust," negotiated Dru.
"You got it." Kasey made the phone call to order their pizza.
Dru found a bottle of Merlot, hefted it so her companion could see it as she made the order. Kasey nodded back. She found two wine glasses, filling the stemware, and went to sit on the sofa. Kasey settled down next to her taking the proffered glass.
"Cheers!" Dru smiled. They clicked their glasses together. Kasey took a small sip.
"Mmm." The young woman sat, with her leg drawn up under her. Setting the drink down, she scooped up the stack of papers sorted out into two groups on the coffee table. Dru leaned close, watching her. "Let's see, there isn't much other than a couple of confused tenses, and typos."
They spent the time discussing what Dru would change and keep when a light knock at the door interrupted them.
"Food!" Kasey jumped up to answer the door. The young pizza driver shyly smiled, and stuttered the amount. After closing the door Kasey moved to place the pizza on the coffee table. "Smells delicious."
"God, I love pizza," announced Kasey, taking another huge bite.
"Yeah, not bad."
"Not bad! You've eaten four pieces, I guess it's not bad," smirked Kasey.
"I'm a growing girl and need my nourishment."
"Oh right! But the growing you're going to get with eating this stuff is out not up."
"Speak for yourself, you've eaten almost as much," Dru accused.
"I guess that just means we'll have to jog more, right?" Kasey determined, Dru nodded and grinned.
"As long as I don't have to beat up anymore idiots, I'll go jogging."
"I'm hoping there won't be a next time." Kasey answered seriously.
Dru leaned back sipping her wine watching the wood fire, she had made when Kasey had been grabbing napkins. Kasey's body touched from shoulder to hip with hers. They still were going over corrections and revisions. Dru couldn't remember when she dozed off. The only thing that registered slightly with her were soft, green eyes taking her glass out of her hand and placing it on the table. Dru felt like she was floating, and Kasey's face floating along with her.
Dru moved slightly, and felt a nice warm spot on her neck. Peering down, Kasey's head rested against her shoulder breathing evenly onto her neck. The writer's manuscript laid limp in the proof reader's hands across her lap. She must have fallen asleep in the middle of working on them. It was still dark out and by the feel of it, her usual time to get up. She'd never fallen asleep like that before.
Dru didn't have much luck with relationships. Friendships were mostly people she had professional contact with, otherwise, she moved through life as a loner. Much like in college. When she did date, the young men in college felt threaten by her intelligence, or they were upset with her independence. She wouldn't knuckle under her dynamic personality for anyone, and wanted the privilege to make her own mistakes. Why think about the past now? She didn't want to think about the loneliness and pain. For the moment, she wanted to make believe she wasn't alone any longer. The warmth and quiet lulled her back into the land of slumber.
"Good morning sleepy head." Kasey waited to hand Dru a cup of coffee. Dru yawned and stretched, then took the offered cup.
"Thanks, what time is it?" She asked, while taking a sip of the dark liquid.
"Around eight." Kasey took a sip of her own coffee watching Dru over the rim.
"Damn, should have been up long before now." Dru got up with cup in hand and headed for the bathroom.
"Yes?" Dru paused, turned to face her roommate.
"Yesterday, I didn't get by the bank, and need to for sure today. Oh and, another thing I would like to stop by the library." Kasey took another sip of her coffee her gaze never leaving the tall raven, haired woman standing in front of her.
Dru smiled, "Sure, take the Mustang. The keys should be on the table." She started again for the bathroom stopped, looked back, "Bring something back for lunch will ya?"
"No problem." Kasey grinned, watching Dru finally disappear into the bathroom.
Kasey pulled into a parking place in front of the library, reached over for her file folder from the seat next to her. She had read about the murder Dru was using as the backbone to her mystery, the real crime happened couple of year ago. It created quite a sensation for some time in the Carmel Valley. The retirees of the area felt at a lost to have their Mecca polluted with such a barbaric act. The freaky part about it all, no one had ever been apprehended for the murder, and the police were short on clues and suspects. Now, two years later, the case was as cold as an Alaskan glacier.
Sitting for a moment, taking in the whole concept she was working for the notorious Dru Warlord. Her mind wandered back to the first time she set eyes on Dru, she became completely fascinated with the six foot charismatic woman. Who without realizing it, had a presence that unconsciously made people take notice. As soon as she entered the party, every eye panned in her direction. She had paused in the doorway in her red silky dress, which hit mid-thigh showing her long shapely legs. Spaghetti straps and the low cut neckline displayed her impressive shoulders, and a great deal of cleavage. Dru scanned the room. A small pensive frown tweaking her lips. About that time Kasey realized she had been holding her breath. Those long tanned legs and famous trademark cerulean eyes, branded her the one and only mystery writer, Miss Warlord, whose work was being clamored for by the public. Every publisher there, was vying for her attention. Her last book sold over a million copies, that being her fourth in a series of murder mysteries. But if the rumors were correct about the raven-haired beauty, the woman had no idea of her real worth or talent.
Kasey, could have spit nails when Trudy had up and left her on her own. She met the capricious woman through an ad in the newspaper. The pudgy red-head needed a roommate. The price was right and it solved one of Kasey's problems of being in a strange town alone. Trudy wasn't a bad sort, but she didn't use the intelligence God had given her. Poor thing had about as much common sense as a dead frog. Even then the frog would win out. During the month Kasey had been in town she had been working out of a temp agency, doing clerical work, until she could find herself a job at what she really wanted to do, research and proofreading. She had applied at all the publishing companies, but had heard zip from them. When Trudy mentioned the party, Kasey jumped at the chance to rub shoulders with those in the publishing business. Never in her life had she envision meeting, Dru. The tall woman had been ambushed by an elderly lady with over done make-up and bright red lipstick. Kasey smiled at the expression on Dru's face, but she was proud of her for listening as long as she did before escaping. Greg, rescued her it appeared, but whatever they were talking about, didn't seem to sit well with the writer. They parted, and she headed for the bar, after she meandered about with drink in hand. She didn't get far before a man approached her with a swaggered. Dru's hand moved so fast, Kasey's eyes didn't catch it. The man was the same one who had made the move on Kasey earlier. She almost swallowed her tongue when the man yelped loudly, and the writer appeared to be saying something to him. A mischievous glint in the tall woman's eye. She couldn't help laughing, though she tried to hide behind her hand. Then their eyes met.... The bluest blue she had ever seen in her life in the sharp featured face, froze her in place. Then, Dru smiled, and the warmth of that one smile narrowed her world down to that one face. No longer did she mind that Trudy had left her, and quietly rejoiced in her luck. To top it all off, Dru had introduced her to Iggy Pinkerton, and reluctantly Kasey said her good byes to the writer. What a witch that Pinkerton lady was, but she did introduce Kasey to a couple of editors, who seemed to light up when they found out Ms. Warlord had recommended her talents. Iggy had a way of laying her hands on her in such a way as to make her skin crawl. She worked to get someone between her and the River Day editor, that kept the roaming hands under control. Looking up, she caught Dru's eye, and mouthed the words 'thank you'. And was pleased to see a smile trace along the woman's lips.
She sighed loudly in the empty car, and ran a hand over the pages of Dru's novel in the folder resting on her lap. It was a thrill to see how Dru unfolded her story, and being a part of the magnificent adventure brought a smile to her lips. If anyone had told her a couple of days before that she would be living with Dru Warlord, she would have thought they had smoked one too many funny cigarettes. But now, it was a fact, she had a job she loved and had the opportunity to learn who the real Dru Warlord was, and not just the persona the world thought she was. That in itself intoxicated, Kasey. Yet, after the brief time together, she felt a deep loneliness emanating from Dru, and it hurt Kasey to see this majestic woman so isolated from the world. If she had anything to do about it, Dru was going to know she had a true friend in her. All she had done for Kasey, was proof, the ice princess of mystery, had a heart.
Well enough of this daydreaming, there's work to be done.
Kasey headed for the archive section, and found a microfiche machine available. Less than an hour later she found the article she was searching for. Lyanda Pharold, was found murdered on the beach off of Sunset Avenue, down from the Asilomar Conference Center. A group of hiking, conference attendees found the scantily clad body in a shallow grave on a popular beach, on an early February morning. The investigator in charge, Hank Huggs, had been assigned the case. The photo of Detective Huggs wasn't bad. He seemed to be a large man, who towered over his colleagues by a head, at least from the photo. She checked Dru's notes and found she had followed along the crime in complete detail. Of course, the story behind the crime was created from her imagination, using a large literary license. Ok, so much for that, Kasey had done her work, now it was time to get lunch and head back to the apartment.
Heading out of town, on Highway 1 traveling towards Carmel. Five minutes later she was in Carmel Plaza. Prizini's Deli was open and busy. Kasey walked to the cooler and picked out two fruit salads, then debated whether or not to get a couple of the steamed artichokes. She wasn't sure if Dru liked them or not, but decided to take the chance and picked out two. Kasey placed the bag containing lunch on the seat next to her. Back on Highway 1 she merged into traffic heading for the Munras Avenue exit. In the rearview mirror she observed a car coming up fast behind her. Kasey moved into the slow lane to allow the vehicle to pass, but the car followed her over. It kept gaining on the Mustang until there was a jolt, which jarred the vehicle and threw the bag onto the floorboard throwing the contents every-which-way. With a death grip, she held onto the steering wheel for dear life. Again the car came up and rammed the back of the car. This time Kasey tried to see who was driving, but the windshield had been tinted to the point where she couldn't make out even if it was a male or female. She swerved into the fast lane and stomped on the brakes, the car that had been behind her flew by and screeched as the driver applied the brakes. Kasey hit the gas taking the Munras exit. The other car missed the turn off. Her hands shook, and the adrenaline made her stomach churn. After parking the car, she ran into the apartment flinging herself into Dru's startled arms.
"What's wrong!?" Dru urgently questioned, holding onto the frighten woman awkwardly, searching her face for some clue.
"Some crazy maniac tried to killed me." Kasey just clung to the tall woman.
"Shush, you're safe now." Dru eased herself out of the arm-hold her roommate had on her and made her sit down. "Now take your time and tell me what happened." Still grasping Dru's hand, Kasey gulped for air.
"It was horrible. Really horrible. This lunatic came speeding up behind me and plowed right into the back of the car. Now if it was an accident it would be one thing, but this person intentionally aimed for me. I changed lanes and they followed me and rammed into the rear of the car. I couldn't believe it was happening." She took a quick breath, "After the second time the car came at me I changed lanes again and stomped on the brakes. The car couldn't brake fast enough so it passed me by. That's when I hit the gas and took the exit off. The car missed the exit or otherwise I might not have made it home." Dru gently brushed wayward strawberry-blonde hair out of the young woman's eyes, her other hand was held in a vise like grip by her friend.
"Why would anyone do such a thing?" asked Dru, concern written on her face. "It doesn't make any sense." She pulled Kasey into another hug, hoping it would help the woman to calm down. "Look, I'm going to call a friend of mine at the police department and tell him what happened, but I doubt there's much he can do. You don't have a description of the driver. Do you have one of the car?"
Kasey shook her head, "I was too busy trying to dodge the car to think about what kind it was. And I'm not all that good at telling one car from another. Sorry, I'm not much help am I?"
"Hey, no problem. Things can be repaired, but lives are a little harder to fix," she smiled "I'm just glad you made it home in one piece." Dru released the young woman, "So, where's lunch." That earned her a punch in the arm, but at least she received a smile, even if it was a small one.
Dru rubbed a hand over the bumper of the Mustang. Forest-green paint scrapes blemished the shiny chrome. Worry wrinkled her brow, who would have done this and why? She had made her call to her friend at the station, and he said he would drop by to talk with Kasey. In the mean time Dru checked the car and gathered up their lunch from the floorboard of the front seat. The damage to the car didn't bother her, but the idea someone had tried to purposely hurt Kasey, tighten a small knot of growing anger in her chest.
Dru set the bag on the table, "This looks pretty good, nothing was ruined." She glanced over to where Kasey sat on the sofa staring out the window. "Are you hungry?" It was apparent the young woman was still upset. Kasey wrung her hands while her left leg bounced with nervous energy. "C'mon, Kasey, eat something, I hate eating alone." Dru placed the salads out and retrieved a couple of dishes. "Look, it's a beautiful day, let's eat out on the balcony."
"Sure, okay," answered Kasey, a little more her old self. She slid open the sliding glass window allowing Dru to carry out their lunch. A crisp breeze hit them coming off the bay. The salty air and surf made them smile at each other. "This is nice." Before sitting down and eating, Kasey leaned on the banister and watched the surf. As usual there were tourists walking up and down the street and along the beach. "Can we go for a walk later, I need to do something physical?"
"Hmm, you sure you wouldn't rather go to the gym and punch out a punching bag?" teased Dru. That earned her a smirk from her companion.
Kasey placed the dishes in the sink, while Dru wash the items. The strawberry-blonde took up the dishtowel and began toweling a glass dry. Both heard the door buzzer and stopped and went to greet their company.
"Hey there, Hank, how are you?" asked Dru, while she extended her hand for the giant of a man to shake. His ham size hand enveloped hers. "Oh Hank, this is my friend, Kasey. She's the one I was telling you about."
"Hi Kasey, nice to meet ya." Hank shook her hand, giving her a warm smile. "Sorry, to hear you had a scare today." They settled in the living room. Dru and Kasey on the sofa, and Hank across from them in the recliner. "I checked out your car before I came up, it doesn't look bad, but then the way it happened you're fortunate you weren't injured, or..." he paused, "killed. I can't say if it wasn't just a bad case of road rage. From what Dru tells me, you can't remember if you cut anyone off, or had any other altercations, which might have initiated this reaction from the occupant of the other vehicle. Can you think of anyone who might be angry with you?"
This question caught Kasey off guard. "What are you saying, someone I know might be trying to hurt me?" She exchanged looks with Dru and Hank. "You've got to be kidding, I don't know anyone in this town but Dru and Trudy. I can't count anyone I met at the party where we met." Kasey linked eyes with Dru's, "I was mostly alone until I sat down and talked with you, then meeting the editors. Iggy bought me a drink, then I went home." Kasey put her head in her hands, "I can't believe this is happening."
"Hey," Dru placed a hand on Kasey's leg somehow hoping it would give her the knowledge she wasn't alone in this.
"Sorry, Kasey, it's my job to ask the tough questions. You never know what triggers someone to go off. A slip of the tongue, is slight disagreement can enrage some people into actions they would never normally consider. If I don't ask I won't know where to start checking." Hank leaned forward resting his forearms on his knees. Then gave her a reassuring smile trying to soften the sting of his words.
"Okay, I have a question for both of you," Kasey stared hard at Hank, "How did this person know it was me driving Dru's car?"
Hank look over at Dru, "Did you tell anyone Kasey was using your car?"
Dru shook her head, "No, no one at all."
"I should have figured," throwing up his hands, Hank sighed.
"And what do you mean by that?" Dru's eyes blazed.
"Tell me what you've gotten yourself into this time, Dru. If it isn't sneaking into my office and raffling through my files, you're harassing my secretary or my men for juicy tidbits of information for some crazy book you're working on."
Dru had the good sense to look sheepish, it was the truth she had done everything he had mentioned and more he didn't know about. They had been friends for a few years, in fact, Hank was who set her to writing mysteries in the first place. Though she would never admit it to him. "Do you really think..." Dru cocked an inquisitive eyebrow, "someone would come after me because I'm writing a book? Doesn't sound too smart to me."
"Who ever said criminals were smart?" Hank snorted. "Just tell me what you're working on."
Dru bit her lip, "I can't Hank."
"What do you mean you can't? Gee whiz, Dru, if what happened today to Kasey was meant for you it was a warning. And who's to say they won't try again? The next time you might not be as lucky as Kasey." Hank shook his head, "If you won't help me help you, then I might as well leave." He started to stand.
Kasey watched out of the corner of her eye to see how far Dru was going to go with this nonsense.
Kasey didn't feel like it was her place to disclose information to Hank, bit her tongue to keep from speaking up. The detective spread his hands in resignation.
"Well, you know how to contact me if anything else comes up," he said, turned and entreated Dru's roommate with his eyes, to tell him what he needed to know. She bit down on her tongue again. He saw the action and gave a small nod indicating he understood though he didn't like it. The door barely closed behind him.
"Why didn't you tell him?" Kasey blurted.
Dru eyes caught her, "I can't, what I know about the crime scene isn't public knowledge. Though I glossed over and changed certain aspects of the murder, I still have enough in the manuscript to have him say something stupid like, interfering with an investigation. The only person, I figure, who would know the truth would be the murderer." And damn it, the murderer would try and stop whoever he thinks would have incriminating evidence. Not the most comforting thought and not one she wanted to share with her friend.
"What are we going to do?" asked Kasey, her voice full of concern.
Dru hadn't missed the we. Knowing she included herself was kind of nice, yet very scary, especially now when someone might be trying to stop her from completing her book. "What bothers me is knowing this person, whoever they are, knows I'm writing about this murder. What we should be trying to figure out is who is privy to that information." She emphasized the word Kasey had, and was pleased to note a cute twinkle enter the other woman's emerald-green eyes. They were both sitting on opposite ends of the sofa, knees drawn up, arms wrapped around their legs, like matching book ends, one blonde and one raven-haired.
"Where do we start?" Kasey, leaned her chin on her knees waiting for Dru's plan.
"Good question, it has to be someone who has seen my rough draft, or even my outline. Those I sent to my agent and publisher. From there," Dru shrugged, "there are too many to count who might have been privy to that kind of information."
"Well, this time something has someone jumpy." Kasey stared at her hands for a minute, a worried look past over her face. "This time, someone is serious about stopping you from publishing your book."
"You know," Dru paused, "Maybe you should consider finding a safer place to stay." This comment blindsided the woman sitting across from her. After thinking the situation through, Kasey could be hurt, and she didn't want that responsibility.
"Excuse me?" The smaller woman's voice grew sharp-edged. "Do you really want me to leave?"
No the writer didn't want her to leave, but Kasey's welfare was more important than Dru's desires, "No, but..." She shouldn't have admitted that, but the words were out before she realized it.
"Then it's settled, I'm staying, unless there's another reason you're asking me to leave?" It was Dru's turn to be thrown for a loop.
"No.... there's no other reason, but..." Dru sighed, Kasey crossed her arms, a determined expression on her face, she began to shake her head.
"I'm not leaving you alone to deal with this. If anything, this is a time when friends stick together."
Dru eased about and stood, looked down on her roommate, "I tell you what, you can stay as long as nothing else happens." The thought of Kasey getting hurt sent a shiver up her back, but arguing seemed rather premature. The incident with the car could have been a fluke.
Laying on her back, Kasey held a page from Dru's manuscript in the air reading it. Next to her, the author lay on her stomach with her completed notes.
"Argh!" Dru bounced her head against the carpet, "My eyes are beginning to cross. I just don't see what might be accusing or pointing to a real life murderer."
The smaller woman rolled over onto her stomach placing her sheet of paper on the stack of other pages on the floor. "Hmm, I've written out notes showing what you've used from the real case and what you've added for your plot." She moved closer with her notebook, setting it so Dru could read it. "See, here you tell about the wound, here how the body was found, here the pieces of clothing that were found," she looked up, "and here the location." The strain pulled at Dru's eyes and lips, and Kasey decided it was time to do something else. "Do you want to go for a ride to unwind?"
"Sure, I need to get out of here, these walls are beginning to close in on me. Yep, I think that wall right there has moved at least a foot." She winked.
Kasey, clamber to her feet and helped haul Dru to hers.
Wispy clouds drifted across the aqua color sky. Seagulls squawked and screeched, hovering on the wind. Dru drove down Ocean View passed Lover's Point. There was nothing like this area, she inhaled the scent of her surroundings. Also, there was nothing like having someone to share it with. Old memories tried to rear their ugly heads, but she pushed them back into the darkness. This wasn't the time to go bringing them into the daylight. Some things are just best left alone, to be forgotten, if one was able. She had been alone for so long it felt strange, but nice to have Kasey around. Dru hadn't realized how isolated she had made herself. She just didn't want to take the chance of getting hurt all over again, which made this thing with Kasey, all the more weird.
"Here we are." Dru edged into the turnout. "This is where they found the body." Kasey gave a little surprised gasp.
"Oh... I didn't know this was where you were headed." She stated flatly, reluctantly opening the door.
"Hey, does this bother you?" Dru hadn't even thought about what Kasey might think about coming here. "Look, if you don't want to do this I can take you back to the apartment, and check the sight out later on my own."
"That's not it, Dru. I ... ah never been to a place where a person has been murdered. It makes me... jittery, but I'll manage, honest. Don't worry about it, please." She quirked an eyebrow, claimed Dru's hand dragging her in a half jog down to the beach. With every step, her fears evaporated. All that past through her mind was feeling Dru's hand in hers. My goodness, the warmth of her hand sent a rush of tingles up her arm, even in this inculpable action. Now stop all this nonsense, she scolded herself.
The raven-haired woman allowed herself to be hauled down to the sandy beach. Pods of seaweed danced in the surf. Rocks jutted out on both ends of the football field size beach. Someone at one time had made a fire-pit. A huge, water, worn log had been rolled up near the pit. Dru pulled up short, bringing Kasey to a stand-still. Who turned, questions obvious in her eyes.
"Over there," Dru indicated, still clasping her friend's hand, then led the way. "Right here was where the body was found. These boulders kept the body from being noticed from above, on the road." Both women scanned the area. Knowing someone had died a foot or so from where they stood made both uncomfortable. It was apparent why the person who committed the crime, chose this spot. The placement of the rocks made this meager section of the beach very private.
Kasey didn't like the feeling, not one bit. The small area of sand didn't show any signs of the murder. Of course it wouldn't since it had been over two years ago, but knowing someone's life ebb into the bay from this spot, was unsettling. The warmth of her tall friend's hand in her own grounded her to the now in time. But for a moment she felt as though she could see two people arguing. Their faces darkened masks, devoid of features, facing each other. One slender, female, hands held out before her pleading to the other. The assailant advancing on her without hesitation, waves of anger washing over the whole scene. A small pop downed by the crashing surf and wind. The woman's body lay sprawled in the gritty sand. Then a shadow fell across the prone figure, arms of the now still body, were taken up and pulled into the clef of the jagged boulders. Rough hands ripped and tore away the light pink blouse and small gray skirt. Sand was hurriedly thrown over the exposed partially nude body.
"Hey?" Two very warm strong, safe arms surrounded Kasey, bringing her back to the now in time. To peer up into very concerned blue eyes. "Are you all right? You looked like death warmed over."
"What a choice of words, Dru." Kasey groaned, a chill ran up her spine, she leaned her head against the solid form holding her. The so-called Ice Princess, didn't resemble anything remotely like the stoic person everyone made her out to be. On the contrary, she felt warm and soft, and very safe at the moment. "I just had an odd experience, like I was witnessing the murder. Stupid, huh?"
Her companion's face, soften, "I shouldn't have brought you here." Dru's fingers trailed through Kasey's long blonde hair, her head tucked neatly under the taller woman's chin. "Sorry."
"It's no big deal, I just have an overactive imagination." She breathed against Dru's chest, sliding arms around her waist. Kasey could sense her body drain itself of the fearful images that had been conjured up in her mind. Whatever it was, she didn't want to experience it again, the confrontation was way too real. Yet, if she could stand here like this with Dru holding her, she would suffer through the waking-dream over and over again.
It came so naturally to draw the younger woman into her arms when she noticed Kasey's sudden paleness. The normally vibrant blonde, suddenly had gone ghostly white. Fern-green eyes glazed over in a trance like pose. A sudden coldness griped Dru, catching her breath, an uncontrollable protectiveness consumed her. Above anything else, Kasey's safety was paramount. Blinking, Dru realized what she had done. Her arms still tightly about the smaller woman's shoulders, her head tucked close. At first, she wanted to break the contact when all her senses were in focus again, but realized it would have taken an army to dislodge her hold. Blast whatever gods there are, how could her emotions become so confusing in such a short time? No way, no how, was she going to allow herself to become involved with.... Ah, who was she fooling? Surely only herself because when she listened to her own body and her thoughts. She was already involved. If not outwardly, then inwardly. The absurdity of falling for someone in a couple of days, just wasn't feasible for her. Things like falling in love at first sight only happened in movies and novels, not real life, and not her life. Her hormones must be causing these strong emotions.
Reluctantly, Dru separated from her shorter companion, as the sounds of a group of hikers approached. My, they must be giving everyone a show. A small evil grin tweaked her lips, good she thought. It didn't bother her, but she worried it might embarrass Kasey, but it was the younger woman who kept her hands on Dru's waist as a group of five middle-aged women, dressed in colorful exercise suits, marched by on the wooden pathway slightly above their location. The crisp nylon material making swishing sounds with every stride. Huffing, breathing could be heard even over the waves crawling to shore. A couple of the women glanced furtively in their direction. Dru winked at one, and Kasey caught the action. Poking her friend in the stomach.
"You're so evil." She snickered.
Two dark eyebrows arched in mock innocence, "Me?" The temptation to kiss Kasey, and really give the hikers something to talk about, enticed Dru, but she didn't want to blow her roommate's mind. Having Kasey as a friend was still all so new, and mucking it up with a physical relationship could ruin it. And she wasn't so sure she could handle the rejection if her advances were refused, it wasn't worth jeopardizing the budding friendship.
Dru crouched by the rocks, running a hand over the rough surface. She didn't expect to find anything, but it didn't hurt to check things out. The cops, had long since searched the area with metal detectors. Anyone who lived by the beach, knew sand was a reluctant substance to give up any of its treasures. What might have laid hidden for centuries, may suddenly show up for no reason, an unexpected gift from the sand gods. Brushing away the grainy stuff from the bass of the rock formation, a glitter of gold caught the sunlight.
"What's that?" Kasey asked, as she stayed the taller woman's hands, reaching forward to brush away more of the sand. She held up a gold interlocking chain, with a round gold pendent. Rubbing a finger over the surface, "Do you think this... "
"I don't know. It would be an odd sort of coincidence now wouldn't it?" Dru took the chain, peered at it closely. "These look like initials." One large filigree engraved initial in the middle, and two smaller letters on either side of the larger. The lettering had been marred, making it difficult to discern the characters etched in the metal.
"You're right, they do appear to be initials." Kasey glanced up into intense blue eyes, "Should be take it to the police?"
Dru shook her head, "Why? We have no proof this has anything to do with the murder." The gold chain was broken, other than the initials, there were no other distinguishing features. Standing, she surveyed the beach and the road above them. Only one house could be seen from their location. Certainly, the homicide detectives questioned everyone living in the area at the time of the murder. Kasey followed her companion's gaze, also noticed the two story gray house. Their eyes met. Two dark eyebrows rose in question.
"Okay, how are we going to play this?" the proofreader asked, with a wry grin.
That earned her a smirk from her roommate. "Let's tell the truth, I'm writing a book, and doing research."
"Just like that, huh?"
Nodding, "Yep." Dru started up towards the house.
Kasey watched as the writer knocked on the gray, painted wooden door. Finding the necklace was an unexpected surprise. A quiver if excitement rushed through her when the gold flash had caught her attention. No one could be so lucky, and yet she held the gold chain in her hand, thinking, if it did belong to Lyanda Pharold, had the murderer given it to her, or was it a gift from a lover? Ever being the romantic, the young woman thought the later met with her approval. Unless, the lover and murderer were one and the same.
"Yes?" a middle-aged woman in her early fifties, answered the door. She wore a crisp white long sleeve cotton shirt, black slacks, with black boots. The woman glanced from Dru to Kasey.
The woman's expression was of light confusion, "Bondini."
"Mrs. Bondini, I'm Dru Warlord, and this is my friend, Kasey Lovett, and we are doing some research on a murder that took place down on the beach across from here." Upon hearing Dru's reason for being there, the woman's demeanor went from curious to guarded. "Would you mind answering a few questions for us?"
"I don't know, are you with the police?"
"No, I'm a writer."
"Maybe you should consider picking a different subject than someone's tragic death to write about." The woman stated flatly.
Kasey noticed the hand the home owner had on the door knob was shaking, the set of her shoulders seemed to have tensed up all at once.
"This is only research, nothing more," answered Dru, not exactly the whole truth. "Were you living here at the time of the murder?"
The woman nodded, "Yes, but I would rather not talk about it. I told the police everything I knew about that night."
"Which was....?" Dru encouraged.
"Nothing. I... I didn't hear or see anything."
"Were you home at the time of the murder?"
"Yes, but I was watching TV, and didn't hear anything."
"Do you live with anyone else?"
"No, but my son comes and stays every so often."
"Was he here that night?"
"Yes," Bondini stated flatly, "I'm not going to answer anymore of your questions." With that, she slammed the door.
Retreating back to the Mustang, "Well, what did you make of her?" her dark haired companion asked.
"Something's definitely up, but what, I don't know. She got awfully nervous, when you started asking her about her son."
"Yeah, I noticed that."
"I wonder what the police report has to say about her." The blonde thought aloud. They both looked back at the house when a forest green 4 X 4 Land Cruiser pulled up to the garage, the garage door opened, letting the UV disappear into its confines, then closed. Kasey's eyes grew wide.
"You've got to be kidding, this is too much of a coincidence," acknowledged Dru. "We've got to get in there and check out its bumper. If my guess is correct, there's going to be some jet black paint on it."
"Or we can just wait and follow them when they come out again," noted Kasey.
"Or we could do that," deadpan the writer. "You make it too easy, I would rather break down the damn door and look, but your way is more civilized."
"And less dangerous," grinned the proofreader.
"But also not as much fun," Dru answered, with a twisted grin.
"Yeah, that figures, let's just beat the truth out of them, right," Kasey egged her companion on.
"Hmm, now you're just playing with me, my feelings are hurt," moaned Dru, she then grew serious. "We can't stay here now that Mrs. Bondini knows what my car looks like. We'll have to find another vehicle to use for our surveillance."
"Don't look at me, I don't have a car," opted Kasey.
"That's so un-Californian you know. Every man, woman, and one point three child are suppose to have an auto in this state, so what happened to you?"
"Good grief, Dru, have you looked at the cost of auto insurance lately?"
"You have the nerve to ask me that, while you sit in my classic Mustang? You must be daft. Of course I know how much it costs, and your point?" a raised eyebrow questioned.
"Oh never mind, what about, Greg, maybe he'll trade cars for awhile?"
"And what am I suppose to say to him for an explanation?"
"Hey, you're the writer, I'm sure you can come up with something."
End of Chapter One
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